Iggy and The Stooges at St. James Park

Stuart Thornton on October 22, 2013

Iggy and The Stooges

St. James Park

San Jose, Calif.

September 28

At 66 years old, Iggy Pop put most rock frontmen to shame during his performance with the reunited proto-punk act The Stooges in San Jose’s outdoor St. James Park. With his shirt off exposing his sinewy, driftwood body, Pop shadowboxed, swung his mic stand around like a deranged lumberjack, stalked the stage like a feral animal and crawled around while barking at different points during the band’s riveting and rowdy set.

The show was the last of a world tour that brought the reunited group to festivals in Belgium, Croatia and South Korea. It was also the marquee music event of C2SV, an inaugural festival that celebrated both cutting edge technology and music in Silicon Valley. The music side saw performances by bands like eclectic rockers Claw Hammer, ‘90s alt rock darlings The Lemonheads, hyper-speed punk rockers OFF! and political hip-hop group The Coup at local venues.

But after the sun went down and Iggy and The Stooges hit the makeshift stage in a corner of the downtown park it became clear why their act was touted as the main music event of the festival. Though guitarist James Williamson muffed a couple guitar parts, songs including “Search and Destroy,” “No Fun” and “I Wanna be Your Dog” were sonic assaults that could slap any crowd out of apathy. Meanwhile, with the great Mike Watt (Minutemen, fIREHOSE) on bass and Steve Mackay on saxophone, the ends of “Funhouse” and “Open Up and Bleed” were transformed into almost jazz-like freakouts.

Throughout, Pop was a deviant ringleader wrapping a mic chord around his neck for a few seconds of new number “Ready to Die” from the Iggy and the Stooges’ recent release of the same name and dropping F-bombs like a dirty comic. During another new one titled “Burn,” the band was joined onstage by a troupe of bare chested women decorated with body paint.The show ended with a seriously raunchy reworking of the oldie “Louie Louie.” After the band exited, Pop stayed onstage prancing and jabbing the air like a boxer celebrating the delivery of a knockout punch, which was pretty much what he had just done.